Updating my Ginger Beer experiments:
The first batch was less gingery than I like. I’ve doubled the amount of ginger I add per day to two teaspoons. I tried doubling it again to four, but the drink was more gingery but somehow less interesting, more like fizzy ginger than nice, tart ginger beer.
So every day add two teaspoons of ginger and two teaspoons of sugar.
I’ve also tried using fresh ginger, now. It helps the process somewhat, but it doesn’t change the flavor very much. There are different ways of using fresh ginger, but this is what I’m doing right now:
I take 20 oz of ginger root – which is a lot, but it’s $2/lb around here – and cut it into smallish pieces. Then I drop it into boiling water for two minutes to scald it, to kill any surface bacteria. After that I blend it with a couple of cups of water until the ginger is blended very fine.
I strain the mush through muslin, squeezing to get as much juice out of the ginger as I can. Then I put that into the fermentation jar and add the Ginger Beer Plant and filtered water to a total of around six cups. (The ginger will add a couple of cups of juice.)
Add four teaspoons of sugar on that first day, and then two teaspoons of sugar (no ginger) each day for the rest of the week.
Since there’s no powdered ginger, the Ginger Beer Plant filters out much more cleanly at the end of the week, ready for splitting for the next batch.
I have also cut the sugar I add down to 2 1/4 cups. I tried it at 2 cups, but that ginger beer batch tasted very good but a little dry. 2 1/4 seems just sweet enough, to me.
As I mentioned, I’m using about six cups of water or water + ginger juice in the fermentation jar, so I’ve cut the 18 cups of cold water to 16 in the bottling mix.
I just bottled batch seven, and with the exception of the batch that I tried four teaspoons of ginger per day, they’ve all been excellent, and that one, while disappointing, was still quite good.